Student response to Ontario cabinet shuffle: Major changes needed in research and innovation funding

    TORONTO, June 24 /CNW/ - Students are hopeful that the addition of
Research and Innovation to the portfolio of the Minister of Training, Colleges
and Universities, John Milloy, will signal a shift towards supporting basic
research and expanding the Ontario Graduate Scholarship program (OGS).
    "Graduate students are struggling with debt from previous degrees and
sky-rocketing tuition fees," said Federico Carvajal, Chairperson of the
Ontario Graduate Caucus. "The very least Milloy as the new Minister of
Research and Innovation can do is increase funding to the Ontario Graduate
Scholarship programme and tie further increases to enrolment growth."
    Over the past decade, federal and provincial research funding has been
heavily weighed in favour of industry and commercial-driven areas of study.
This leaves most Ontario graduate students unable to access this funding.
    "Adequately funded research is essential to improving the future of
Ontario's economy and it's society," said Shelley Melanson, Chairperson of the
Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario. "It would be a shame if research into
important issues like child poverty and immigration history were passed over
because there isn't a commercial potential for the results of such research."
    While graduate enrolment has increased by over 30 percent over the past
four years, inadequate OGS levels have remained unchanged. Unless funding for
the OGS is increased by 2010, less than four percent of graduate students will
have access to this funding.
    "It is our hope that Minister Milloy will take the opportunity of his new
cabinet position to bring along badly-needed improvements to how research is
funded in Ontario," said Carvajal.

    The Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario unites more than 300,000
college and university students across the province. The Ontario Graduate
Caucus brings together more than 55,000 graduate students.

For further information:

For further information: Shelley Melanson, CFS-Ontario Chairperson,
(416) 925-3825 or (416) 882-9927 (cell); Federico Carvajal, Ontario Graduate
Caucus Chairperson, (613) 851-2726 (cell)

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